Discover Brisbane's top day trips

18 JANUARY 2023

Adventure and exploration abound only a short drive from Brisbane’s city centre. Grab your camera, pack a picnic, jump in the car and spend a day discovering the natural beauty and history of the diverse Greater Brisbane region.

A woman lifting her leg for posing on the beach at North Stradbroke Island/Minjerribah
Two women taking photos of the water from a boardwalk at North Stradbroke Island.

North Stradbroke Island/Minjerribah

An island paradise awaits your exploration, just a short ferry trip from Cleveland Marina. The abundance of activities and attractions on offer makes North Stradbroke Island/Minjerribah a perfect day trip destination for beachgoers and nature lovers. Start your day along the scenic North Gorge Headland Walk, keeping your eyes peeled for whales frolicking in the distance and turtles and manta rays in the clear waters of the gorge. Follow the coastline along to Cylinder Beach, the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely afternoon in the waves or on the sand.

Relax and let River to Bay do all the work for you, curating an all-inclusive, fun-filled Stradbroke Island Day Trip Tour including ferry transfers. If you’re making your own way to the island, book an unforgettable cultural experience with Yura Tours or, for a complete change of pace, snorkel or scuba dive among manta rays with Manta Lodge & Scuba Centre.

St Helena Island National Park

Transport yourself back to colonial times as you cruise from the mainland across Moreton Bay to St Helena Island National Park. From its beginnings as an important Indigenous hunting ground to its foundation as a 19th-Century prison settlement, learn from knowledgeable local tour guides about the island’s rich and surprising history. Choose a day tour or a spooky night tour to enjoy the surroundings, a hearty meal and the colourful stories passed down through the years. St Helena Island Tours leave from Manly’s William Gunn Jetty daily.

Moreton Island/ Mulgumpin 

Plan a day of adventure at Moreton Island/ Mulgumpin. From underwater exploration to off-road action, there is no shortage of heart-pumping activities to fill your day. Getting to Moreton Island is easy with Micat’s Moreton Island Ferry taking passengers and vehicles on the 90-minute journey from Port of Brisbane every day except Wednesday. Once you’re there, dive with some of Queensland’s most colourful sea life at the Tangalooma Wrecks Dive Site. Located only metres off the sandy shores of Moreton Island, the wrecks provide a shallow haven for snorkelling beginners and reach depths of up to 10m for more experienced divers. River to Bay runs daily guided snorkelling tours including transfers and lunch. Keen on the wrecks but not on snorkelling? Sunset Safaris’ Get Wrecked one-day tour equips you with a unique transparent kayak so you can glide over the wrecks for a birds-eye view. Tangalooma Day Trips offers an array of other island experiences including sand tobogganing, desert safaris, dolphin-feeding, ATV quad bike tours and whale watching. 

Samford and Mount Nebo

Escape from the hustle and bustle and take a short drive through the green surrounds of Brisbane’s west. Samford is only a 45-minute drive from Brisbane City but it exudes a country town feel with plenty of quaint cafes, craft shops and museums. Take a leisurely walk along the Samford Valley Heritage Trail as it meanders through 13 historical sites, including galleries, heritage buildings and other significant sites. Continue your drive up to nearby Mount Nebo or Mount Glorious for a mountain walk and afternoon tea at one of its cafes such as the picturesque Café in the Mountains or Mount Glorious Café, a popular stop with motorbike riders. 

People posing in front of Vino Bus.
Vino Bus, Scenic Rim

Tamborine Mountain  

Standing proudly in the Scenic Rim is Tamborine Mountain, a spectacular oasis for nature lovers, art enthusiasts and adventurers. Spend your morning wandering the dense forests of Tamborine National Park and catch a glimpse of some of the area’s most colourful birds and wildlife. If you’re feeling adventurous, visit the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk and enjoy the spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean from high in the trees.

A short drive away, the nearby Gallery Walk and Main St beckon you to browse and shop at more than 60 art and craft stores and local cafes, perfect to refuel after your walk. Be sure to set aside time for a Tamborine Mountain Distillery Tour to sample its distinctive delights. If that whets your appetite, book a tour of Tamborine’s many wineries, breweries, distilleries and local food producers with The Vino Bus or Kiff & Culture. These tours ferry you in air-conditioned comfort from Brisbane to gourmet destinations throughout Tamborine.

Bribie Island 

Pumicestone Passage separates Bribie Island from the mainland and is a popular escape for water sports enthusiasts, nature lovers and families. Just an hour’s drive from Brisbane City, spend your day relaxing on the sand or get among the action and take a guided kayak, windsurfing or kite surfing tour along the sheltered channel. Pumicestone Passage is also one of the east coast’s most vibrant marine environments so be sure to bring your binoculars to watch flocks of shorebirds dart across the sandbanks and mangroves. You may also be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of dugongs as they make their way through the seagrass beds. You can explore the mainland with G’Day Adventure Tours offering a range of day trip tours from 4WD safaris to kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. 

People on the field at Bull Dog Farm.
Bull Dog Farm, Moreton Bay Region

D’Aguilar National Park

Discover subtropical rainforest, shady gorges, luscious woodland and spectacular views of Moreton Bay at D’Aguilar National Park. Split into two distinct sections – the South D’Aguilar section at the southern end of the park and the Mount Mee section at the northern end – you can marvel at the contrasting landscapes and natural habitats as you make your way around the 90-minute circuit drive. At the southern edge, visit the Walkabout Creek wildlife centre and grab a bite to eat or order a picnic hamper at the Walkabout Creek Café. As you make your way north, keep an eye out for lookout points near the Mount Nebo and Mount Glorious townships for beautiful views of the eucalypt forest.

Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology 

Spend the morning exploring a treasure trove of world history and ancient possessions at Caboolture’s Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology. From ancient Egyptian artefacts to local historical tours, the museum offers interesting activities to engage kids and adults. For lunch, drive just 15 minutes to Redcliffe’s Suttons Beach and find a shady spot to enjoy some of Brisbane’s best fish and chips. Spend the afternoon walking along the sandy beaches and letting the waves lap at your feet or stroll up to Settlement Cove and splash about in the public lagoon and free children’s water park.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary 

What better way to enjoy the Brisbane sunshine than by sharing it with some of your furry friends? Mirimar Cruises operates a daily Koala and River Cruise taking visitors from the heart of Brisbane to the doorstep of Lone Pine Koala SanctuarySpend your morning cruising along the Brisbane River as it meanders past historic landscapes, iconic attractions and spectacular home sites. Enjoy two-and-a-half hours exploring Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and meeting some of Australia’s most iconic native animals. Come face-to-face with more than 130 koalas, get close and personal with kangaroos, spot a shy platypus and witness birds of prey in full flight during a special showcase. Hop back on the boat afterwards to relax and share your stories as you head back to The City, or linger longer with Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary's night time experience, Nocturnal. Encounter Australian wildlife like never before and witness the sanctuary and its creatures as the sun sets and the lights go out. 

A distant shot of a couple sitting on a tree trunk on a beach